How do I make a self extract and running installer?


Using winRar

I went with WinRar as follows, this does not require you to create an sfx file everything can be created via the gui:

  • Select files, right click and select Add to Archive
  • Use Browse.. to create the archive in the folder above
  • Change Archive Format to Zip
  • Enable Create SFX archive
  • Select Advanced tab
  • Select SFX Options
  • Select Setup tab
  • Enter setup.exe into the Run after Extraction field
  • Select Modes tab
  • Enable Unpack to temporary folder
  • Select text and Icon tab
  • Enter a more appropriate title for your task
  • Select OK
  • Select OK

 

Using 7Zip

Here are the steps.

Step 1 – Setup your installation folder

To make this easy create a folder c:\Install. This is where we will copy all the required files.

Step 2 – 7Zip your installers
  1. Go to the folder that has your .msi and your setup.exe
  2. Select both the .msi and the setup.exe
  3. Right-Click and choose 7Zip –> “Add to Archive”
  4. Name your archive “Installer.7z” (or a name of your choice)
  5. Click Ok
  6. You should now have “Installer.7z”.
  7. Copy this .7z file to your c:\Install directory
Step 3 – Get the 7z-Extra sfx extension module

You need to download the 7z-Extra.

  1. Follow this link to go to download 7Zip
  2. You need to download the 9.20 version (as @ May-2015) as the beta does not contain the correct files.
  3. A direct download link.
  4. Extract the 7zip extra files
  5. Copy the file “7zS.sfx” to c:\Install
Step 4 – Setup your config.txt

I would recommend using NotePad++ to edit this text file as you will need to encode in UTF-8, the following instructions are using notepad++.

  1. Using windows explorer go to c:\Install
  2. right-click and choose “New Text File” and name it config.txt
  3. right-click and choose “Edit with NotePad++
  4. Click the “Encoding Menu” and choose “Encode in UTF-8”
  5. Enter something like this:

    ;!@Install@!UTF-8!
    Title="SOFTWARE v1.0.0.0"
    BeginPrompt="Do you want to install SOFTWARE v1.0.0.0?"
    RunProgram="setup.exe"
    ;!@InstallEnd@!
    

Edit this replacing [SOFTWARE v1.0.0.0] with your product name. Notes on the parameters and options for the setup file are here

CheckPoint

You should now have a folder “c:\Install” with the following 3 files:

  1. Installer.7z
  2. 7zS.sfx
  3. config.txt
Step 5 – Create the archive

These instructions I found on the web but nowhere did it explain any of the 4 steps above.

  1. Open a cmd window, Window + R –> cmd –> press enter
  2. In the command window type the following

    cd \
    cd Install
    copy /b 7zS.sfx + config.txt + Installer.7z MyInstaller.exe
    
  3. Look in c:\Install and you will now see you have a MyInstaller.exe

    You are finished

Run the installer

Double click on MyInstaller.exe and it will prompt with your message. Click OK and the setup.exe will run.

P.S. Note on Automation

Now that you have this working in your c:\Install directory I would create an “Install.bat” file and put the copy script in it.

copy /b 7zS.sfx + config.txt + Installer.7z MyInstaller.exe

Now you can just edit and run the Install.bat every time you need to rebuild a new version of you deployment package.

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